How to Ready Your Pro Shop for the Holidays!
The last quarter of the year is the time to make adjustments that can impact how your pro-shop business will end the year. Focus and intention will have a significant impact on your year-end earnings.
The last couple of months of the year can be nerve-wracking. Take time to plan and adjust today. Your customers, your team, and your bottom line will recognize it.
1. Make your Customers Smile
Back to school and the holiday season are the most hectic times of the year for your families and customers. Parents are adjusting to new routines, kids are getting back onto the school schedule, and on top of this, you layer on holidays, teacher conferences, gift-giving, and seasonal travel. Tempers run high (just watch your parking lot!) and a focus on patience and extra customer attention can go a long way.
Make your store attractive.
Make transactions easy.
Think about the free perks of a nice hotel – fresh coffee and tea go a long way. Consider bringing a large coffee pot into the store and adding cider and cinnamon sticks to it before your classes start each day. Offer customers small cups of cider and draw them into your shop. Most clients are happy with a 4-ounce cup or none at all, but at minimum, your store will smell like the holidays and help your customers relax.
Be fast and be friendly – read the room! Tell your parents you know how much they have done this time of year and show them you are happy to send them along their way. Offer free holiday gift-wrapping for a week or two, just to take one more thing off their plate. Make it a holiday gift to your customers and announce it on every social media site you use, and often.
2. Tweak your Product Every Single Week!
Impulse sales are at their highest this time of year. Keep your store fresh by moving different impulse items every week from the shelves to the checkout counter and to high-visibility tables/racks at the front entrance.
Beautifully wrap some gift boxes to inspire your families in the waiting room to take care of holiday shopping.
Make a doll leotard garland on your facility Christmas tree!
Create a collection of festive, holiday-themed leotards and place them at the front of the store.
Have a contest with your team each week to see who can suggestive-sell the most key add-on items. Have them offer a leotard with each new registration, coordinating shorts with every leotard, a doll with every unitard, or even a grip bag with each pair of grips. Contest winners can win anything from small gift cards to a day off work on December 24th. The rewards don’t have to cost you money!
Update your store by highlighting different items for shoppers that could be used as gifts.
Look at your clearance products too that have been hanging around for too long. Now is the time to make them look their best. Reorganize, remerchandise, and promote with discount pricing as a doorbuster. Come January, sales will really slow down, and it will be even harder to get rid of them.
3. Review your Inventories and Shrink
Before you have to manage end-of-year sales and inventory, in combination with January enrollment, December absences, etc., take time to review your current inventory. Review any reports you have on sales or work with your vendors to provide you with details on best-sellers/sell-through ratios. Review what sales were last holiday season and prepare your inventory to sit at the proper levels for this year.
Build a sales strategy for any seasonal items you purchase, to make sure you sell through inventory before the end of the year and you aren’t sitting on Christmas leotards or holiday gift wrap at the end of the year. For example, place all holiday products on sale by 11/15. If you’re charging for gift wrap and it isn’t working, change your plan! Offer it for free to encourage an impulse purchase.
Take advantage of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday marketing to sell more products.
Review other inventories that impact the customer experience – this is everything from register tape to shopping bags, bathroom cleaning supplies, extra sales racks, etc. Make sure you have everything you need to see you through the end of the year.
Additionally, clean out the back room! Clear out stock that’s hiding in boxes, throw away summer clearance signs, back-to-school signs, and other unnecessary clutter. Make way for holiday and new product.
4. Review End-of-Year Deals
Like you, many vendors are working hard to meet sales goals and year-end is a frequent time for a sale. If you know your inventory needs, you’ll be better able to take advantage of these deals, be it equipment, software, racks, or products.
5. Stay Connected
Service is the name of the game – set yourself apart from all the shiny holiday cards and send your messages to key people before the holidays begin. Tell your team, your vendors, your suppliers, and your customers that you appreciate having them in your corner.
Thank them for helping you get through the year and being part of your community.
Wish them a happy holiday season and assure them their ongoing support is the best holiday sentiment they could send back your way!
6. Plan for Post-Holiday Recovery Now
Have a plan for how you will transition the store after the holidays and schedule it by day. What happens when the gym closes before Christmas? On December 26th? December 30th? January 2nd when you reopen for classes?
Have a plan in place to retire all holiday signs, products, and promotions.
Make sure the store looks as good after the holidays as it did on December 15th.
Plan for the New Year into February, NOW! You know what happens – meet season begins, coaches and owners begin traveling and don’t know Monday from Sunday. Think through last year’s issues and solve them now. Put solutions and plans in place now that will make the transition easier.
TO-DO LIST TODAY:
In October, review this six-point list with your team. Then, create a November through January calendar and place each item on a date on the calendar. Delegate actions to key team members or take responsibility for each of them yourself. Use the calendar to keep focused on what really matters during the holiday season and rise above the daily chaos that you know will ensue!